he cornea is the clear front of the eye that covers the colored iris and the round pupil. The cornea is essential to good vision. As the eye?s outermost tissue, the cornea functions like a window that controls the entry of light into the eye. If the cornea is damaged it may become swollen or scarred. In either case, its smoothness and clarity may be lost. This can cause blurred vision or loss of vision.

Over 40,000 corneal transplants are performed each year in the United States. Of all transplant surgery done today ? including hearts, lungs, and kidneys ? corneal transplants are by far the most common and successful. Utilizing donor corneal tissue, Dr. Jacobs has helped hundreds of his patients recover their sight through this remarkable procedure.

When should surgery be done ?

Spectacles or rigid contact lenses may help some types of corneal scarring or irregularity. A corneal transplant is needed when corneal damage or disease results in vision that cannot be corrected satisfactorily or painful corneal swelling that cannot be relieved with medication.

What happens once you decide to have surgery ?

After deciding to have a corneal transplant, your name is put on a list at the San Diego Eye Bank. Corneas used for transplantation are obtained from donor eyes and are collected within a few hours after the demise of the donor. They are carefully inspected for suitability and routine testing is performed to assure a healthy donor cornea. After testing and processing, the corneas are held in eye banks and distributed locally, nationally, and sometimes internationally for patients awaiting surgery.

Corneal Transplant Surgery

Dr. Jacobs performs corneal transplant surgery on an outpatient basis. It is performed under local anesthesia.

Dr. Jacobs first removes the patient?s damaged or diseased cornea using a specially designed instrument known as a trephine.

Next, Dr. Jacobs will use a similar trephine to make the same size incision in the donor corneal tissue. He then replaces the damaged corneal tissue with this new donor corneal tissue.

During the final stage of the procedure, Dr. Jacobs will suture the new donor tissue into position. At the conclusion of the operation, he will place a shield over the eye.

What to expect after surgery ?

Since Dr. Jacobs performs this procedure on an outpatient basis, patients come in for their surgery in the morning and return home by that afternoon. All patients are seen by Dr. Jacobs at his office the following day. Postoperative care consists of eye drops, eyeglasses or an eye shield for protection. Regular visits are required to monitor healing.

The cornea is clear and has no blood vessels, which results in very slow healing. The sutures need to remain in place for at least one year. Vision improves slowly over the first several months, and may not completely stabilize until all sutures have been removed. However, it is often possible to prescribe glasses or fit contact lenses during the healing process. Most normal activities, except exercise, may be resumed shortly after the procedure.

Dr. Jacobs, Corneal Transplant Specialist

Dr. Jacobs is fellowship trained in corneal transplant surgery. This means that he has the advanced training and surgical expertise to insure that you receive the highest quality care and attain the best possible results.

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Jacobs has had the pleasure to restore the vision in hundreds of people who have suffered from loss of vision due to corneal disease.

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